Elkins Brewstel

A brewery/hostel in the West Virginia mountains?  Count me in!  

You just don’t find many hostels in the USA, especially outside of big cities – so the Brewstel caught my eye. 

Elkins is conveniently located in the middle of some of the most beautiful & famous spots in the Monongahela, so it made for a great respite between multiple nights of camping. The goal was to take a couple days to replenish my food supply, shower, do laundry, sleep in a real bed… and get some craft beer. The Brewstel looked exactly like I pictured: a rustic miner’s lodge, decorated with railroad memorabilia.  Quintessentially West Virginian!

Stupidly I arrived on a Monday night, which meant I was the only lodger and the brewery was closed.  This actually turned out to be a blessing, since I got the whole kitchen to myself to prep my meals for the next 3 days of camping.  

The friendly owner and upstairs neighbor kept me company and gave me some good advice for seeing the area.  The first thing they agreed on was that I should watch the sunset from Bickle Knob.  “It’s spelled like Pickle, but with a B,”

It was fabulous advice.  Bickle Knob is a lookout tower proudly perched on top of a mountain with 360 degree views.  You can see Elkins and the surrounding hills, stretching for miles and miles… and yes, it’s a spectacular spot to watch the sunset.  I shared the tower with a pair of teenagers half my age and an older couple twice my age; just goes to show it’s a timeless activity for all ages.  The teenagers taught me a little bit about West Virginia history – particularly why it separated from Virginia during the Civil War.

Elkins was a cool town.  It actually reminded me of small Colorado mountain towns, with its historic rustic two-story brick buildings lining the streets.  Downtown was decked out in fall decor and one store even had a display window full of super creepy old dolls (sadly, my photo didn’t turn out).  The demographic seemed to be a mix of older people wearing tie-dye and younger athletic people like myself, who used the town as a base for their outdoor adventures.  

I was able to work from a colorful coworking space called Common Door and get in some yoga at the town park, next to a gentle river. A caterpillar even joined me on my mat.  I visited the laundromat which was surprisingly busy.  With amusement, I realized it must be the town watering hole where locals come to gossip!

The roads going to and from the town are stunning, winding through the colorful hills.  I enjoyed every moment of this trip and would love to return next year.  But next time I’ll be sure to drop in on a weekend to get the full Brewstel experience!

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